TU Bergakademie Freiberg Institute of Technical Chemistry

Topic of investigations in the project (title)

  • Investigation and optimization of the SSF-process
  • Investigations on dehydratisation of fermentation alcohols
  • Investigations on Lignin valorization (via subcontract with Wageningen UR)


TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Institute of Industrial Chemistry


Leipziger Str. 29; 09599 Freiberg/Germany

Project leader:

Prof. M. Bertau; Dr. M. Katzberg

Responsible co-worker:

Dipl. Chem. Doreen Steffien; M.Sc. Muhammad Azim Khan Niazi


Through usage of the enzyme complex of Penicllium verruculosum, cellulose can be hydrolysed to yield glucose which in turn can be fermented to alcohols by yeasts. Although this is a two-step process it is beneficial to operate both in one pot, resulting in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF). Thereby glucose ideally is fermented right after hydrolytic liberation from cellulose and thus cannot accumulate up to a concentration inhibiting cellulase or beta-glucosidase enzymes.
On the contrary to the SSF-process using a cellulase complex from Tichoderma the SSF-process using an alternative complex from Penicillium is not well investigated and optimized. As this is the basis for up-scaling to a more industrially relevant scale we aim for investigating this particular process in detail followed by optimization of fermentation-alcohol space-time-yield.
In addition to producing fermentation alcohols from pretreated biomass we also aim for investigating the further valorization of the fermentation products through non-enzymatic dehydratisation using heterogeneous catalysts.
As the aim of the collaborative project is the use of all parts of lignocellulosic biomass, lignin must also be of concern. In this regard we aim for the creation of Lignin derived high-value products synthesized by making use of biocatalysts. Through a research sub-contract Wageningen University – the working group around Dr. Carmen Boeriu in particular – is dealing with this challenging topic.